eNews: Friday 10th January 2020

From Graham Malcolm, Interim Executive Head

Welcome back to the Lent term.

I’d like to thank you all for the warm welcome I’ve received at St Michael’s – it’s very nice to be back!

As you may know, I taught at St Michael’s as Deputy Head between 1991 and 2000 and it’s good to see that the ethos of the school has remained unchanged. I’m gradually meeting all of the children, who are a delight and I’m impressed with the professional and caring staff, to whom I extend my thanks.

I look forward to experiencing the joy of St Michael’s again and to sharing memorable moments with you all.

Graham Malcolm




From the Deputies

We have enjoyed hearing all about the exploits of the children over the festive period and the presents and experiences they have had with family and friends, around the world. With the ever-increasing development of devices we do hope that the simple pleasure of spending time in the company of loved ones isn’t lost to future generations. The start of the Lent term would be noticeably less fun were we to lose the oft-told anecdotes of elderly relatives and their mishaps involving dentures and Brussels sprouts at the dinner table on Christmas Day!

The start of a new term is a time for targets, goals and fresh starts. In our first Prep assembly on Tuesday morning, we looked at the history of New Year resolutions. We apparently have the ancient Babylonians to thank as the forerunners for our current custom. When it was explained that originally this was a time to repay debts and return borrowed items, there were a few pointed glances around the room, with the look of missing PE kit in some children’s eyes!

Thinking of New Year’s goals, we were excited to launch our own RED January in assembly today. At St Michael’s the RED stands for Read Every Day and we hope that you will encourage your children to join in this initiative, and perhaps take part yourself.

As always, should you have any questions or matters you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact us.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

Staff News

A warm welcome to Sonia Flavin, who joins St Michael’s as Teaching Assistant in Pre-Prep.

Sonia left her career within the property industry in 2011 to have her first child. In the meantime, she has been a full-time mother whilst also studying. She completed an Access to Teacher Training Diploma in 2013 and, prior to having her second child, was a Year 2 Teaching Assistant in Bromley.  She further developed her academic knowledge by passing her Early Years Foundation Degree in which she graduated last year and has plans to continue her studies to become a qualified Primary Teacher.

Sonia enjoys keeping active and spending quality time with her children.

She is looking forward to joining St Michael’s to provide outstanding care and support to the children and the staff.


An equally warm welcome to Rebecca Sims, who is joining the Prep school as a Learning Support Assistant and Teaching Assistant.

Rebecca has worked as a teaching assistant in a local village school for the past two and a half years. During this time she has gained a vast amount of experience and has formed good working relationships with both pupils and parents/carers.

She enjoys helping those around her strive to be the best they can be, whilst making them feel proud of their achievements. She has a very kind, caring nature and is extremely hard working.

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family and enjoys travelling and exploring new places.

Rebecca is really looking forward to being a part of the St Michael’s team and is looking forward to getting to know everyone and utilising her skills.


News from Pre-Prep

• New staff in Pre-Prep
• Fri 10th Jan Year 2 parents – English workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 17th Jan Year 1 parents – English workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 24th Jan Reception parents – English workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 31st Jan Year 2 parents – Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 7th Feb Year 1 parents Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 28th Feb Reception parents Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am

Happy New Year and welcome back to the Lent term. I hope you all had a good Christmas holiday.

Welcome to Sonia Flavin our new teaching assistant in Pre-Prep who will be working in RJ with Mrs Jeffery on Thursdays and Fridays.

This term we have a series of maths and English workshops for parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. These will be held on Friday mornings after drop-off. If you would like to know a little more about how we are teaching your children, please pop in to the dining room on the relevant date.

I am looking forward to meeting with the class reps over the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions you would like them to ask, please email your class rep.

One small reminder, if you are walking down to the playground with your children in the morning please park in the car parks and not in the drop off lane. Thank you for your co-operation.

Overheard: “You can tell these are definitely Bluewater trainers not Sainsbury’s ones.”

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Registration for Nursery and Reception 2021

We are in the process of sending out offers for places in our Nursery and Reception classes for September 2021.

If you are looking for a place for your child in either of these year groups, please contact Jenni Rye, Admissions Assistant on 01959 522137 ext 207 or email her on jrye@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk


On this week’s Message Board

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Message Board to see new important information as follows:

  • Inter-House Senior and Junior Drama Duologue Competition
  • Online Safety presentation by Lorin LaFave – booking now open

On this week’s Community Events page

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Community Events page to see important community information.

News stories

Our news stories can be found by clicking “News” and “Latest News” on our website. To see our latest articles please click here

We are delighted that both our lovely St Michael’s mums and Year 5 pupil, I Sharma, have been mentioned in the latest edition of Attain magazine (a copy should be coming home with your children in the next few days). Page 42 features our mums’ Hever 10k run in support of “Sevenoaks Welcomes Refugees” and page 47 features I Sharma’s achievement in bringing home a gold medal in the European Yoga Championships.

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Isaac for being loud and clear during the Nativity
Lottie E for always being an enthusiastic helper
Sam S for fantastic speedy working out of how to make 10
Emily P for wonderful independent work on ways of making 10
All of RM for a fantastic start to the new term! We are very impressed
Bonham B for excellent effort in our phonics lessons
Arthur S for fantastic effort and enthusiasm in our number lessons
Lawson B for improvement in reading
Kieran P for fascinating holiday homework all about the history of his house
Robert M for an excellent start to the term and super effort with his writing
Max H for great effort in improving his handwriting
Benji S for reading at a good pace with some lovely expression
Hugo M for working hard on his spellings in the holidays
Florence B for her re-enactment of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ in our PE lesson
Luca C for outstanding improvement with his handwriting
Alexander H for being a great king in Mrs Leech’s assembly
Mickey M for fantastic writing about the Christmas holidays

House Point Cup

Leeds House with a total of 45 points
Genevieve M collected the Cup on behalf of Leeds House

Times Tables Certificates

Gold – Eva V H, Florence B
Silver – Jake L
Bronze – Eva F

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

O Gasson For a fantastic Homework Challenge presentation, including trailer!
O Court For an outstanding play script written for your Homework Challenge, including props and stage direction!
E Wilcock For a brilliantly created app with excellent data input
D Verdamato For a wonderful video diary and written diary about Sir Edmund Hillary
P Mahil For a fantastic video diary of Marco Polo
E Porter For a fantastic video diary of Helen Sherman
M Lewis For an outstanding poster, showing electricity in the home
H Brown For completing your times tables card

RED January

In the Prep school assembly today we launched RED January, an initiative to encourage children to Read Every Day. Pupils have been given a large red sticker to put in their homework diary and we have asked them to tick off a numbered square for every day that they read between now and 31st January. Reading at school and at home both count. Happy reading!

Mrs Baisch and Mrs Andrade

Players of the Match, week commencing 6th January 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Rugby K Cameron For great all-round play
U12 M Blincoe For great tackling
U11 A No Match
U11 B S Ward For good tackling
U10 A O West For playing consistently well at the breakdown
U10 B A MacRae & R Browne For superb all-round play
U9 A S Taylor For great defensive line speed
U9 B J West For good tackling and scoring good tries
U8 A W Pennington Legh For showing good aggression
U8 B T Staples For scoring 4 tries
U8 C G MacIntosh For a superb defensive display
U13 A Netball No Matches for girls this week
U13 B
U13 C
U11 A
U11 B
U11 C
U10 A
U10 B
U10 C
U9 A
U9 B
U9 C
U8 A
U8 B
U8 C

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Oakwood Park Grammar School, St Olave’s Grammar School, Skinners’ School and Whitgift School.

Rose Hill School Future Schools’ Evening

Rose Hill School (Coniston Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SY; Telephone: 01892-525591) are holding a Future Schools’ Evebubg on Tuesday 28th January from 7pm. They would be delighted to welcome any St Michael’s parents, who would like to join them.

Over twenty independent secondary schools will be in attendance, including Tonbridge School, Sevenoaks School, Bede’s, Bethany School and Hurstpierpoint College.

Please register in advance with clare.rowton@rosehillschool.co.uk 


Latest News

A Sevenoaks food bank is 318 kilos heavier following a donation from St Michael’s.


The school surprised charity The Community Cupboard with the generous donation on Monday, February 1 following a Christmas collection for the cause.


In total, £965 was raised from parent and staff donations throughout December, which St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P & F) used to organise a Sainsbury’s shop of food and toiletries for the charity.


Commenting on the school’s motivation to help the food bank, Co-Chair of St Michael’s P & F, Kelly Downey, said: “Delivering our donation to The Community Cupboard was an amazing and uplifting moment. Being able to bring the school together to contribute to a cause which plays such an important role in our community during this time was very rewarding.”


Greeted with three car loads of canned foods, long-life products and toiletries, Kelly also describes how delighted the charity were with the school’s generosity. She added: “The team were really blown away by our donation and thankful for the time we’d taken to raise the money and organise a delivery.


“It was a great feeling to be able to put an initial idea from a St Michael’s parent into action, and to see the impact we would be having on the local community.”


Kelly added: “We recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to put food on the table for their families. We hope that our donation can be a small step in making a difference for those people.”


Since the start of January alone, an additional 22 local families have registered for The Community Cupboard’s support, reflecting the increased pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic across the country. And it is only thanks to generous donations that the charity can continue to provide help to those who need it most.


Trustee at The Community Cupboard, David Carter said: “We would like to express our extreme gratitude to St Michael’s for their wonderful donation. We are very lucky to receive regular donations from local groups, but they are rarely to this scale.


“The food and toiletries kindly given to us by St Michael’s have allowed us to fully restock our shelves as well as putting plenty of stock on standby for new referrals. The size of this donation will allow us to give substantial food packages to the 22 new families who were referred to us in January. St Michael’s help is invaluable to us and will make a huge difference.”


Since its launch in January 2020, The Community Cupboard has continued to help families in Sevenoaks, and has extended its help to cover a 20 mile radius including Edenbridge, Westerham, Surrey, Sidcup, Rochester and Ashford, due to the pandemic.


The Trustee added: “We began as a small group of people determined to make a difference locally in an area where food banks were lacking. Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way and our efforts would be needed tenfold. To say we hit the ground running would be an understatement.”


Run by four members and six volunteers, The Community Cupboard works tirelessly to deliver parcels to families, and in January alone distributed 3.1 tonnes of food, toiletries and essential items.


David said: “We began the charity on the foundation that ‘if we can help, we will’, and with the community’s help, I’m proud to say we are doing just that. We see a lot of hardship and sadness in doing what we do, but it really opens our eyes to the incredible hard work various organisations and charities do in our community. Thanks to generous groups like St Michael’s, we can confidently say ‘yes, we can help you’.”


The Community Cupboard are currently taking donations of tinned and long-life food products, as well as toiletries and essential items. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be put towards bulk orders for the charity.


The charity is based at The Garage, Gamcock meadow, West Kingdown where a covid secure donation drop off process has been put in place.


For more information about The Community Cupboard, or to donate to the charity visit www.thecommunitycupboard.co.uk.

Mr Bridges is on a mission to keep St Michael’s motivated with his latest exercise plan designed to make exercise fun.

The Director of Sport at St Michael’s, who is a very keen runner himself, has created a beginner to 5k plan for anyone wanting to keep fit this lockdown.

The six-week plan, featuring workouts, running challenges and rest days, covers a range of exercises aimed at strengthening all parts of the body.

Mr Bridges said: “I have created this training programme for the St Michael’s community to help anyone who wants to have a go at running during lockdown and safely get to 5k by the time we return to school. The plan is suitable for Prep-aged pupils, parents and staff, including absolute beginners.”

The teacher, who has 15 years’ training as a running and triathlon coach, added: “The programme is designed to build a body capable of running 5k at the end of the six weeks, and what better time to have a go than during lockdown.”

The detailed plan, organised into weeks and week days, follows a key where the letters W (walk) and R (run) appear alongside the number of minutes the activity should take place for. For example, 6 x 1:30w/2:30r represents a 1 minute 30 seconds of walking followed by 2 minutes 30 seconds of running, repeated six times.

Mr Bridges said: “The programme includes progressive long runs from week 3 onwards, the only day where the running is based on distance rather than time.

“On Mondays I will also be sharing a different workout on the St Michael’s PE YouTube channel which pupils can take part in.”

To share your experience of the programme, including photos please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. By sharing this information you give consent to it being shared on St Michael’s social media channels and publications.



Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head describes the school.

“I’ve always liked St Michael’s and have been visiting it for several years as part of sports fixtures with my previous schools”, Nik Pears said.

“Something that has always impressed me about St Michael’s is the atmosphere and people that belong to it.

“The sense of community you feel when walking through the doors of the school is extraordinary”, he added.

An avid sportsman, experienced leader, and family man, Mr Pears brings with him a wealth of ideas for St Michael’s, including his core value of equipping pupils for life.

Nik , who joined St Michael’s in January 2021, explained: “I am very keen on developing a growth mindset in my pupils. In this ever-changing world, our children need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom.

“Pupils need to be adaptable, resilient and perseverant, and learn to accept their failure and mistakes as important parts of their personal development.

“By equipping children with the right interpersonal skills during their school years, we can set them up for a future in which they may have to fight for their place in the world.”

Nik’s concept of growth mindset can also be applied to his broader vision for the school.

Coming to St Michael’s from his headship at Kent College, Pembury, Nik believes the challenges posed by Covid-19 can teach schools a lot about the importance of flexibility and community.

Mr Pears said: “These unprecedented times have been a huge learning curve for schools.

“Navigating a school through a global crisis was never going to be easy, but it has shown just how necessary it is to put pupils at the heart of every decision.

“As someone who has experienced the period as both a teacher and parent, it is very clear that we are all battling the same storm in different boats.

“It is incredible how people have found new and creative ways to deal with the circumstances. From Zoom concerts, to helping food banks, to keeping each other’s spirits high with funny videos, this period has shown us a lot about community which we will learn from and remember.”

Having belonged to multiple Prep schools himself throughout his education and as a teacher, Nik is excited to be entering this new stage in his career at St Michael’s.

Reflecting on his own school years which saw him attend schools in London, Devon and Dublin, he said: “I always enjoyed school as a child and made the most of every opportunity I was given.

“I particularly enjoyed subjects like music, drama and history and was fascinated by the things that we learnt.

“I was also heavily involved in sports and belonged to the Kent U18 rugby group. Even now you’ll find me in a pair of wellies at the side of the pitch cheering on my pupils and own children.”

Nik added: “I was one of those children who wanted to get stuck into everything, even the things that I found difficult.

“As well as my sports clubs, I belonged to multiple choirs, as well as orchestras where I played the drums, trumpet, piano and guitar.”

Mr Pears also spoke about the impact his own teachers had on his time at school and the person that he is today.

He said: “I had some amazing teachers which taught me a lot of things about life and leadership.

“Sir Anthony Seldon, one of my history teachers, was particularly inspiring and sparked my passion for the subject.

“The Head of my Prep school in Dublin also gave her pupils a lot of time. She was a hero.”

And Nik’s teachers aren’t his only role models in life.

He said: “A man called Phil Wall is also a huge inspiration of mine. Phil is the founder of the charity We See Hope which works with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa.

“Phil’s selflessness and passion for the cause inspired me to become an ambassador for the charity.

“His exceptional leadership, authenticity and integrity is just inspiring.”

Mr Pears also explained how his love of people has guided him to the many leadership roles he has held.

Nik said: “I very much enjoy being with people and having a good laugh. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing family including my wife, Emma and our two children, Jessica and Josiah. Our pet hamster Charlie is also a valued member of the family who kept us well entertained during the first lockdown.”

He added: “Being a leader brings so many opportunities to show warmth, empathy and understanding to others, and I can’t wait to become a member of the St Michael’s community.

“When pupils leave St Michael’s to pursue their senior education, I hope they remember me as someone who was kind, knew them well and valued their opinion.”


On Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s hosted a fun-filled charity day for Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA).

Organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy, whose life who saved by the emergency team last Christmas, the school partook in a range of fundraising activities including a fun run, Christmas jumper day, and brain-teaser quizzes.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.

“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day has changed that.

“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”

Amanda McLean, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: “A big thank you to the staff and pupils of St Michael’s for coming up with creative ways to involve everyone in fundraising. In sharing her story, Lucy has helped us spread awareness of what Thames Valley Air Ambulance does. We can only do what we do because of the imagination and generosity of our wonderful fundraisers. We hope you had a lot of fun on your fundraising day!”

Lucy, whose story recently featured in the TVAA’s Christmas appeal, said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”

“It means so much to me that St Michael’s have come together to support this cause.”

The highly successful events saw pupils spread festive joy while raising an impressive £2556.60 for the charity which relies wholly of public donations.

Mrs Bridges, St Michael’s Acting Head, added: “Yesterday was amazing! The whole school had such a great time, and pupils were very excited to take part in a different fundraiser which meant they could enjoy the outdoors, whilst raising money for such an important charity. Everyone gave their all in the sponsored run and it was a brilliant event to watch.”


Mrs Wade, Head of Girls’ Games also said: “The children did remarkably well considering the conditions, and ran superbly for Lucy’s cause.”



And Lucy’s family echoed this gratitude for St Michael’s support. They said: “We wanted to say a huge thank to the St Michael’s community for supporting Lucy’s appeal for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance this Christmas. We’re so grateful to you for getting behind this amazing charity to whom we owe so much. We know from experience that your donations really do save lives. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021!”

For more information about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance or to donate visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/support-us/donate